What does Apple CDN, Akamai, and Limelight have in common? Plenty. Netflix and Comcast built a CDN to support their own content delivery needs, with Comcast going the way of Amazon, not only being a CDN consumer, but a seller of CDN services. What impact did Netflix and Comcast have on the CDN industry as a whole? None, things are the same now in the ecosystem, as they were before they built their CDN. There wasn’t any ripple effects in prices, features, innovation, or the like. Its Apple’s turn now, will they follow in the footsteps of Netflix and Comcast, or will they disrupt the CDN landscape for the next decade.
How Can Apple Disrupt the CDN Industry
Apple can disrupt the CDN industry in one big way, and in doing so, overcome their three challenges (Talent Gap, Optimal POP Count and ROI) previously discussed, and in the process, create a CDN ecosystem that is better off for everyone, from Akamai to Limelight to the startup CDN. Apple may even inject new life into the CDN ecosystem, saving it from itself. How? Apple can buy Limelight Networks CDN global network assets, and sell the customer base, and transfer Limelight’s highly talented employees to Akamai, since Apple doesn’t plan on being in the CDN business.
The Ripple Effect
This move will create an enormous ripple effect impacting all CDNs for the better. Akamai wins in that it eliminates its biggest competitor, acquires a global enterprise customer base, and adds over a hundred million dollars to its top line. Apple gets one of the largest and most established Tier 1 CDNs on the planet that immediately puts Apple on the CDN map, on par with Google. Limelight employees win in that they find a new home that is safe, secure, and whose every whim is not dictated by the emotions of Wall Street. Best of all, the startup CDNs will see a huge influx of clients trickling down from the acquisition, as many are not a good fit for Akamai. In essence, Apple does something reminiscent of an NBA three-way trade. It’s complex, but we’re in a complex business, and Apple is one of the very few companies that cause this type of disruption. Apple CDN, Akamai and Limelight